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Bronx-Lebanon’s CMIO Faces Forward on Challenges and Opportunities

September 3, 2015
by Mark Hagland
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Robert Leviton, M.D., CMIO and physician advisor at Bronx-Lebanon, is helping to lead his colleagues forward on diverse challenges and opportunities

Leaders at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center Health System in New York City are working on hundreds of projects with an IT element to them, in a hospital facility that sees more than one million patients a year. Robert Leviton, M.D., the hospital’s CMIO and physician advisor, who has been in his position since May 2010, is helping to lead a host of informatics-facilitated initiatives there. Leviton began at Bronx Lebanon in May 2010, and leads a combined team of 12 informaticists onsite in New York, and five based in Pune, India, giving the team the capability of addressing issues around the clock.

Leviton and his colleagues at Bronx Lebanon have been working closely with professionals from the Chicago-based Allscripts to help them realize their vision of a more effective clinical organization.

Leviton spoke recently with HCI Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland regarding some of his organization’s recent advances. Below are excerpts from that interview.

What are some of the key priorities right now for you and your team at Bronx-Lebanon?

Our number-one focus right now is the ICD-10 transition, with a go-live by October 1. We’ve been live for about two weeks with an ICD-10 solution. I’ve been rolling it out by department, but it was overwhelmingly accepted by everyone, it’s very easy to use: two or three clicks and you’re done; so we’re rolling it out to everyone. It involves an ICD-10 calculator. I’m an AHIMA-certified trainer [certified by the American Health Information Management Association], studying ICD-10 since 2012. [The switch from ICD-9 coding to ICD-10 coding] involves 10 clinical modifiers: laterality (left-right), acuity, encounter (initial, subsequent, delayed), anatomic site (eyes, ears, nose), so when you think about these clinical modifiers, you think of clinical modification columns.

So ICD-10 is a very specific kind of tool to get to the granular level of the diagnosis. For example, congestive heart failure could be either acute or chronic; so that’s one column. And someone could have a left or right metatarsal fracture; or left or right, or bi, so that’s an example of laterality. A stroke could have an etiology; a thrombotic event could be a strombolic event. Pneumonia could be due to different bacterial agents. So these columns are clinical modifiers that take the broad categories and reduce them to a single diagnosis in two to three clicks. Most of us work in venues where the diseases don’t change a whole lot. The Bronx has a lot of heart failure, diabetes, obesity. So we’ve created favorite calculations, and once you’ve calculated, you save to favorites.

So most of the diagnoses will be taken care of by this solution?

All of them will be, yes. They love it. Everyone has been hearing the hype, so when I get up in front of everyone and show them the solution, you see mouths drop, It’s so easy. This is a Y2K event.

What are some of the initiatives you’ll be working on next?

Core measures will be a big focus for us. CMS [the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] has a series of core measures under value-based purchasing. So what we’re doing, and why I really enjoy working with Allscripts as a solution, is that we’ve created a workflow that’s absolutely brilliant. As the doctor is working through the DVT [deep vein thrombosis] risk assessment calculator, it comes up with a risk score, and that risk score crosswalks to an order set, and all the doctor does is click initiate my DVT risk order set, and that order set is right there, and they click and save, and the orders get sent automatically.

That involves just a few clicks?

It’s a few more, but not more than that. You click on the patient’s risk based on age, calculates from 1-6. And then you indicate whether there are contraindications for medical treatment, or for mechanical treatment, mechanical prophylaxis, like an elastic stocking, and then, high risk for bleeding; and then it recommends one of nine different order sets. If you have varicose veins, you may not be a candidate for elastic stockings.

Both of these solutions are completely embedded in the EHR?


As you’re rolling out solutions, what criteria are you following to prioritize your work?

That’s a great question. We’ve developed an administrative structure with a core leadership team, an MIS steering committee, and reporting to that are an acute-care team, an ambulatory care team, a behavioral care team, an emergency care team, and an allied healthcare team (nursing, social work, etc.). Each team is responsible for identifying the key projects they want completed. They ten present to the MIS steering committee, which decides on the funds and the timing.

When did this governance structure get set up?

About a year ago.

And how is it working?

It has its fits and starts, like anything else. You know, the issue of, hey, Robert, can you do this for me real quick? That doesn’t work any longer when you’re trying o build an integrated process for the whole organization. We ask that everyone take into account all stakeholders… all clinical stakeholder groups, risk management, everyone else.

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for you as a CMIO, right now?